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Hamas warns Israel: No hostage deal if Israel attacks Rafah

Hamas has warned Israel that engaging in military action in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza filled with displaced individuals, may result in the termination of discussions concerning a hostage resolution.

Published April 03,2024
Hamas has warned that if military action takes place in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza crowded with displaced individuals, talks on a hostage agreement with Israel will be cancelled.

Any attack could ruin the negotiations, the Palestinian television station Al-Aksa, which is considered the mouthpiece of the Palestinian terror group, quoted on Sunday, citing an unnamed high-ranking Hamas member.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the army on Friday to prepare for a Rafah offensive. The town near the border with Egypt is the only place in the coastal area where Hamas still exercises control.

However, a military offensive there is considered highly problematic. Before the war, the city had around 300,000 inhabitants, but now at least 1.3 million internally displaced people are said to be living there in a very confined space.

The US government, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and others have spoken out clearly against military action in Rafah. UN Secretary-General António Guterres also warned of a humanitarian catastrophe and consequences for the entire region.

Israel has already attacked targets in Rafah from the air on several occasions, eyewitnesses have said. However, Israeli ground troops have not yet been deployed there.